The Times columnist traces the meandering arc of his family, from Lithuania to South Africa to England.
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Roger Cohen’s maternal great-grandfather was born in Siauliai, Lithuania, in 1877, and left for South Africa in 1896. Arriving penniless, Isaac Michel had no formal education but could add and subtract, and eventually built a large retail empire. He died almost five decades later, with a lavish estate in Johannesburg that included a sprawling home, an arboretum and a turquoise Cadillac in the curving driveway, the chauffeur at his call.
How much your heart breaks when you argue says a lot.
Pinocchio wanted to be “a real boy.” When he followed Lampwick to Pleasure Island and began smoking cigars, shooting pool and living the crude life until growing donkey ears and braying, was Pinocchio closer to being a real boy or a real donkey? At least Pinocchio had the decency to feel ashamed.
Well, the 92nd Street Y debate I went to on Tuesday was not quite as contentious as the flubbed Steve Martin one happening in the night before, but it still got pretty heated. A sold-out audience came to see Peter Beinart and New York Times columnist Roger Cohen debate former AIPACer Steven J. Rosen and Wall Street Journal editoral page editor and former Jerusalem Post editor Bret Stephens.
In preview of tomorrow night's debate at the 92nd Street Y featuring Peter Beinart, I'll engage in a small bit of self-promotion. My story in last week's paper profiled Beinart, whose essay attacking American Jewish leadership for failing to attract young American Jews to support Israel created a firestorm this spring. If you cannot make the debate (at 8:15 pm Tuesday night) I hope my story catches you up on the discussion's general parameters.